I love my microwave oven and use it for just about every meal. But that doesn't mean that I cook everything in it. Rice is one food I prefer to cook on top of the range, because the microwave just doesn't cook it any faster or better. That frees up my microwave oven to do something else.
For example, in making these stuffed peppers and tomatoes, I simmer the rice filling on the range and cook the seasonings in the microwave oven at the same time. Of course, once I've stuffed the pepper and tomato shells, I pop them into the microwave oven for some easy heating.
4 large green peppers
2 large tomatoes
2 cups water
1 cup long-grain or brown rice
1 large red onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil or cooking oil
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped (1 cup)
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
1/3 cup snipped parsley
1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dillweed
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Snipped fresh dill
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
1 recipe Dolma Sauce (recipe follows)
Fresh dill sprigs (optional)
For pepper shells, cut off tops of green peppers. Discard seeds and membranes. For tomato shells, slice off stem ends of two large tomatoes. Scoop out pulp and seeds. Set shells and tops aside.
For filling, in a medium saucepan combine water and uncooked rice. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a one-quart microwave-safe casserole combine onion, garlic and one-quarter cup olive oil. Cook, covered, on 100 percent power (high) for two to three minutes or until tender but not brown, stirring once.
Stir onion mixture into rice. Stir in chopped tomato, currants, pine nuts, parsley, the dill, thyme, salt, sugar and cinnamon. (If using brown rice, cover and continue cooking over low heat for 25 minutes more or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.) Stir in tomato paste.
Spoon three-quarters-cup filling into each pepper shell and one-half-cup into each tomato shell. Sprinkle with dill. Cover with tops. Place stuffed peppers and tomatoes in two separate microwave-safe 8x8x2-inch baking dishes or eight-inch round casseroles. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Cover each dish with waxed paper and cook separately. For peppers, cook on 100 percent power (high) for 11 to 14 minutes (low-wattage oven: 13 to 16 minutes) or until tender and heated through, giving the dish half-turn once. For tomatoes, cook on high for three to five minutes (low-wattage oven: five to seven minutes) or until heated through.
Serve vegetables warm or cold with Dolma Sauce. If desired, garnish with fresh dill sprigs. Serves six to eight.
2 8-ounce cartons plain yogurt
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil, if desired
2 teaspoons dried dillweed
Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Cover and chill thoroughly. Makes two cups.